Monday, January 5, 2015

New year, a new attitude....... maybe?

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone;
For men were born to pray and save?
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave. .

This is a verse from W.B Yeats famous poem “September 1913” it was published in the Irish times in 1913. In this poem he demonstrates his disillusion with Ireland, he believes her people to have lost their way, and there are no hero’s left. Funnily it was published just under three years before the 1916 rising.
I found myself reflecting upon this poem, when I read Tim Pat Coogan's opinion in the Irish Times "Commemorating 1916 : We need to rekindle a spirit of idealism". The main theme that stuck with me was the disillusionment of the Irish people.
Why you may ask is this being discussed in the blog of a lowly Irish EVS volunteer who is currently living in the out stretches of Eastern Europe. Well I considered myself to be one of Ireland's modern disillusioned youth. This disenchantment with our society is what led me to quit fumbling in a greasy till, adding prayer to shivering prayer that our people and our leaders will finally take decisive actions and responsibility. That they would encourage creativity that once made our country great. As a member of this society I tried to take action in my own way. I joined various creative and start-up groups. But even among likeminded people who were actively trying to create a new attitude and outlook for Ireland often frustration won out. The belief that the rudder of our country was not ours to hold but that of people who took our tax money and demanded more.

So here I am in Northern Romania , working with the YMCA where I use my skills to engage and encourage the local youth. My daily tasks involve creating activities and events to achieve the goals of the YMCA. I find myself motivated now, the work gives me satisfaction and I am receiving as much if not more than I give! This is far away from the frustration and disillusionment that had seeped into my daily life. The wealth we have created with our events and activities is great, intangible and constantly achieving great returns and their impact is far reaching. The results we achieve cannot be measured , a happier community cannot be summed up with pounds, shillings and pense. Working in this environment has rekindled my energy and idealism. And maybe this is the moral of my blog post. I left a society that was fumbling with its greasy penny’s and sometimes we need to forget these simple measures of success and create something that cannot be measured. Perhaps it will be when we leave behind the constant measurement and examination of outcomes the disillusionment will end.

Soon I will be home and I will reactivate my role in society. But what will have changed is my energy and enthusiasm.  I can overcome the cynicism and frustration. As they say “a change is as good as a rest”. My change in environment is teaching me many things and I believe that I and many others like me will pry the rudder from those who hold it now and will control the course of our future and that of our country's.  


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